Those 5 little words seem to be repeating lately. I’ve said it about a trip to Hawaii…our trip to Ireland….about restaurants we heard about …about hotels…about English Camp in Spain…about a recent reunion…and so many more things.
It wasn’t what I expected. So what was I expecting?
More sunshine in Ireland 🙂 I bought a DVD to take home and show the husband what Ireland would have looked like if it had not been constantly raining or gloomy. You know, if we could see it. The narrator shared the true meaning of “the luck of the Irish” when he explained that the cast of a movie set in Ireland experienced the luck of the Irish when they had several full days of sunshine! To be fair, the castles were more fun than I’d imagined, as was sharing a room with my son’s mother-in-law – and the sweet Irish responses to the kids both traveling with their ‘mums’. We laughed till we cried, realizing the signs everywhere saying “To Let” were not toilets. Not what I’d expected.
In Hawaii, I’d expected a lush floral paradise complete with ukelele background or songs of The Hawaiians, and treats with coconut. I apparently went the wrong time of the year and saw 5 flowers (not 5 types – 5 flowers) in a week – other than those in leis. Music was only where we paid for it (a luau). Pineapple abounded, but the coconut craving was not satisfied until I got to the airport on the way home and bought a Mounds bar! Not what I expected.
The English Camp in Spain, I expected to be about serving in a foreign country, and it was to some extent, but it was more about having my eyes opened, and being molded for service at home.
In Acts, Peter and John were going to the temple, and those handicapped outside the temple had their expectations too:
Acts 3:2-5 And a certain man who had been lame from his mother’s womb was being carried along, whom they bused to set down every day at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, in order to beg alms of those who were entering the temple. And when he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he began asking to receive alms. And Peter, along with John, fixed his gaze upon him and said, “Look at us!”
And he began to give them his attention, expecting to receive something from them.
When the man realized he’d been noticed by Peter and John, he expected something from them.
Imagine the disappointment when almost immediately they were told what they were NOT going to get. (the alms they expected)
But then, visualize the surprised joy when they got more than they’d expected, more than they’d dared ask for, more than they thought possible!
A second example of expectations is found in Luke 6:35 – “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High;”
Part of our lifestyle as Christians (Christ-followers) is to lend, to do good, and to show love to those the world or those who might consider themselves enemies and to do so expecting nothing in return.
God says our reward will be great – we will be recognized as His children. We should expect nothing as we would have done nothing more than would be expected of one who is allowing Christ to live, and to love, through them. Bringing his presence with us.
We could imagine the privilege of being known as one who naturally and automatically does good, lends without expecting a payment or return favor, and shows love to others as Christ did for us (while His enemies). But we could never imagine the joy until we experience it.
I can guarantee, The Christian life won’t be what the world expects – love from those they charge with hatred.
And it won’t be what you expected – the joy of bringing Christ into any location or situation – the joy of being known or recognized as His child – whether complimentary or accusatory – defies description.
The Church of Macedonia lived beyond others expectations- 2Cor. 8:5 and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God.
And they challenge us to …”abound in this gracious work also.”
Not as a command, they say, but because … “this is to your advantage, …not only to do this, but also to desire to do it.
Is life not what you expected, although you desire to complete God’s work in your life?
2Cor. 8:11 is my prayer for you:
But now finish doing it also; that just as there was the readiness to desire it, so there may be also the completion of it by your ability.
It won’t be what you expected –
It will be far better!